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The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death (MP3 CD)
Charlie Huston’s The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death, is the sort of modern-day noir that is both refreshing and familiar. His characters never end up where they start at the beginning of the book which is one reason I like his writing. Too often the people involved in crime stories have their lives interrupted but it all goes back to what it was. Not in Charlie’s universe.
Web is a guy whose life has been off its rails for a year now and he’s alienated everyone around him. His roommate and best friend gives him an ultimatum – get a job, get a life and get a job. He goes to work for a small outfit that cleans up after people die, whether that is by violence or not. Needless to say, this new gig will lead him into trouble.
Web is a true wise-ass, which is part of his problem but also part of his charm. Whatever situation he finds himself in – watching someone murdered with a telephone, for instance, in his apartment and then having to clean it up – he’s so wholeheartedly irreverent that you can’t help but like him. Soon he’s up to his eyebrows in stolen nuts, a possible femme fatale, a war between cleaning outfits and the desire to reattach himself to humanity even while he’s trying to puzzle out just what went wrong in his life. Actually, he knows, but it takes him awhile to grasp it.
If blood and maniacs don’t bother you, if you like cool, crisp writing and a pitch-dark sense of humor, read Charlie Huston.— JB
Webster Fillmore Goodhue has found temporary work as one of the mop-up crew for the Los Angeles County crime division. In other words, he cleans up grisly crime scenes for the cops. When the daughter of a recent Malibu suicide victim asks for his help cleaning up after her brother has gotten into a little trouble, every cell in Web's brain is telling him to turn her down. But she's very attractive, and before he knows it, he's well on his way to getting his face kicked in, facing down some gun-toting LA cowboys, and hanging on for dear life. And that's only the beginning.